Book Review: Insight into Government
Insight into Government by Lord Craigton, Pitman 21s.
This little book is intended as a primer for those who want to play the game of bourgeois politics. It is written by a Conservative peer for the benefit of “individuals and organizations who desire to exert influence on the British Government” in order to “get things done”. The multitude of tedious activities with which Lord Craigton concerns himself are those aimed at the endless reform of capitalism. Naturally, the socialist movement — whose object is the establishment of a system of society on an entirely different basis — is considered too trivial to warrant any consideration.
We can, however, endorse two of the points which Lord Craigton makes. Firstly, that the House of Commons is the seat of power in Great Britain. Secondly, that the state machinery of capitalist society is manned by paid officials and civil servants members of the working class. But his lordship is blissfully unaware of the irony of such a situation—where the working class loyally runs capitalism in the interest of its capitalist masters and uses its voting power to perpetuate its own degraded status.
This book, then, contains little of any importance to the workers. Socialism will not be achieved by attempts at exerting pressure and influence on a government which has been elected for the declared purpose of administering British capitalism.
Those who fooled themselves into thinking otherwise are having this lesson painfully taught to them at present. But one useful fact does emerge from Lord Craigton’s sketch of the machinery of government If a majority of working men and women, equipped with a knowledge of what socialism is and how it may be realised, chose to elect socialist delegates to the national parliaments nothing could stand between them and the classless reorganisation of society. But the workers have no need to glean such information from Lord Craigton’s over-priced book. Throughout this century the SPGB has been putting forward the case that, once a consciously organised working class has captured the coercive apparatus of the State, this may be converted into the agent of emancipation.
As long as working men look to their leaders and the apologists of capitalism for political inspiration they will stay where they are—propertyless wage earners at the whim of capital. When they choose to shake off their lethargy and work it out for themselves there’ll be a different tale to tell. Until such time there will continue to he a market for such books as this.